As part of the month-long lead-up to World Wish Day, Make-A-Wish, American Airlines, Disney, and The Points Guy teamed up to grant the wishes of 26 children battling critical illnesses by sending them to Walt Disney World® Resort on The Best Flight Ever. On April 12, 2023, the children and their families boarded a one-of-a-kind chartered plane from New York City to Orlando for a unique in-flight experience unlike any other, including a celebratory pre-flight event at the gate, magical moments in flight, and a welcome reception at Give Kids The World Village, an 89-acre, whimsical nonprofit resort in Florida.
Create a groundswell of traditional and social media buzz around The Best Flight Ever in order to:
The Points Guy
Since 2017, The Points Guy has supported Make-A-Wish by partnering in several fundraising campaigns to help raise the nearly 3 billion points and miles it takes to fulfill travel wishes each year.
Utilizing its existing philanthropic relationships with airlines around the world, The Points Guy and Make-A-Wish approached American Airlines in 2019, the organization’s longest-standing airline partner, with the idea to charter a private flight full of wish kids whose wishes were to go to Walt Disney World Resort. Historically, one out of every two wishes granted in the U.S. through Make-A-Wish has been a Disney wish.
We know wishes give families who have been struggling with hospital stays a chance to spend quality time together and let wish kids do what they do best - be kids. Wanting to elevate the pre-experience for wish families, The Best Flight Ever added an extra element to their wish trip, making the 2-hour journey from JFK to Orlando one that the families would never forget.
Make-A-Wish, American Airlines, Disney, and The Points Guy planned for The Best Flight Ever for over a year, originally scheduled to take place in April 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizations were forced to take a nearly three-year pause as travel came to a halt, and the health and safety of the wish kids became a priority
The biggest challenge we faced was when to resume the project safely and still make it successful. In early 2023, the four organizations joined forces again to help plan The Best Flight Ever 2.0 ahead of World Wish Day - the anniversary of the wish that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish. We were able to successfully send 26 deserving kids battling critical illnesses and their families on a trip of a lifetime.
On April 12, 2023, Make-A-Wish, American Airlines, Disney, and The Points Guy successfully sent 26 kids battling critical illnesses and their families to Walt Disney World Resort on a one-of-a-kind chartered flight.
The experience began with a pre-flight celebration at JFK International Airport, where kids were welcomed in style on a red carpet with a MC announcing their arrival. Celebrations continued with a DJ playing “Party in the JFK” as families enjoyed a Disney-themed breakfast bar, face painters, and photo booth, before the special boarding send-off by American Airlines team members, other travelers, and local Make-A-Wish volunteers on the red carpet.
During taxiing, families experienced a rare “water salute” where the plane taxied underneath water sprayed from firefighting vehicles next to the plane.
Travel guru Brian Kelly, aka The Points Guy, hosted memorable in-flight experiences and magical moments as the “chief fun attendant,” which included interactive games and a special snack menu. Families also participated in fun sing-alongs with Michael James Scott, who stars as Genie in Disney’s ALADDIN on Broadway, and read-alongs by pilot and author Lauren Settles.
In Orlando, dozens of cheering Make-A-Wish volunteers welcomed families as they headed to Give Kids The World Village, a whimsical resort where they stayed for six days and five nights during the wish trip.
The success of The Best Flight Ever strengthened the relationship between the four organizations and paved the way for more magical flights to take place, further cementing the power of travel in changing lives for the better.